Monday, August 22, 2011

CCSO Offers Back-To-School Safety Tips

School is back in session in Collier County. That means parents need to reinforce safety messages with their children and drivers need to be alert on the roads.

Monday marked the first day of school in Collier County.

This week look for deputies in marked patrol vehicles and in unmarked vehicles with their emergency lights flashing parked at school speed zones, crossing guard intersections and other areas where large groups of students walk to and from school.

Also look for lighted marquee message boards with the message “Give Kids A Brake” around the county.

The Collier County Sheriff’s Office asks parents to take the time to talk with your child about safety. Do not assume your child knows what to do.

CCSO offers these back-to-school safety tips:

* Plan a walking route to school or the bus stop. Choose the most direct way with the fewest street crossings and, if possible, with intersections that have crossing guards.
* Walk the route with your child before school starts. Tell him or her to stay away from parks, vacant lots, fields and other places where there aren’t many people around.
* Teach your child to cross at designated crosswalks at intersections.
* Mind all traffic signals and/or the crossing guard. Never cross the street against a light, even if traffic is not visible.
* Wear reflective material; it makes you more visible to street traffic.
* Be sure your child walks to and from school with a sibling, friend or neighbor.
* Teach your child never to talk to strangers or accept rides or gifts from strangers.
* Tell your child that if anyone follows them on foot to get away from him or her as quickly as possible. If anyone follows them in a vehicle, they should turn around, go in the opposite direction, and try to quickly get to a spot where a trusted adult may help them. Advise them to be sure to tell you or another trusted adult what happened.
* Teach your child that if a stranger tries to take them away, they should quickly get away and yell, “This person is trying to take me away,” or “This person is not my father/mother/guardian.”
* Teach your child that if a stranger tries to grab them, they must make a scene and make every effort to get away by kicking, punching, screaming, and resisting.

* Make sure your child knows their bus number. This will reduce your child’s stress and avoid confusion on which bus to ride.
* Make sure your child knows their telephone number and address.
* Parents/guardians should visit the bus stop with their child.
* Walk the route to and from the bus stop with your child, pointing out landmarks and safe places to go if they are being followed or bothered by a stranger. The safe places can be used if your child needs help.
* Teach your child what to do if the bus does not arrive on time.
* Teach your child to stay with a group while waiting at the bus stop.
* If an adult approaches your child for help or directions, remind them that adults should not ask children for help; they should ask another adult.

* If your child rides a bike to school, instruct him or her to always travel with a friend.
* Ride in well-lit areas and never take shortcuts.
* Always wear a helmet while riding. Helmets should fit properly and the straps should always be fastened.
* Wear bright color clothes and place reflectors on the bike.
* Avoid wearing headphones because music can be distracting and cause you not to notice potential hazards around you.
* Teach your child that he or she is subject to the rules of traffic signs and signals, just as motorists. They should be alert to traffic signs and know what they mean.

* Keep the computer in a high traffic area of your home. Parents should monitor the sites their children visit.
* Parents should monitor a child’s on-line activity, sexual predators frequent chat rooms and social networking sites looking for victims.
* Software is available to filter out obscene material and to lock out inappropriate web-sites.

* Never give out personal information, such as name, address, phone number school name or location, team name, or town you live in.
* Never agree to meet someone in person that you’ve first met on-line. Always tell your parents that the person wants to meet.
* Never respond to messages that make you feel scared, uncomfortable or confused. If you receive a message like that, tell a parent right away.
* Be careful what type of photos or information you post or share. What you may think is private may go public.